Meet Me for Coffee? Not in 1942


Making someone a cup of coffee in the early 1940s would have been an act of real friendship. As a result of World War II economies, coffee was rationed for over a year in the U.S., starting on November 29, 1942. Seventy-eight years ago today, on July 28, coffee rationing ended. Now that would have been a day of celebration for me!

Sugar, fats, and other items were also rationed during the war, but coffee rationing would have been a trial for me. I go to sleep at night thinking of my first cup of coffee in the morning, and it never disappoints. People managed coffee rationing, as we always do, with substitutes, weaker coffee, bartering, and of course, cheating. The ration amount was one pound of coffee over a five week period. Yikes!

People have loved coffee for centuries and across all nations. Here’s a German ode to coffee from the 1700s:

Ei! wie schmeckt der Coffee süße,

Lieblicher als tausend Küsse,

Milder als Muskatenwein.

Coffee, Coffee muss ich haben,

Und wenn jemand mich will laben,

Ach, so schenkt mir Coffee ein!

(Oh! How sweet coffee does taste,

Better than a thousand kisses,

Milder than muscat wine.

Coffee, coffee, I've got to have it,

And if someone wants to perk me up, *